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Red Rooster’s Albums of the Year

Dec 30th, 2017

It’s hard to believe we’re fast approaching the end of 2017, but good lordy, what a year it’s been for that uniquely soulful, warm-hearted pocket of music of which all us Roosters are so fond. Since the end of 2016, we’ve been treated to scintillating records from resurgent giants, breakthrough albums from critical darlings of international renown, and predictably classy work from several of the world’s most consistently brilliant purveyors of blues, folk, Americana, soul, and everything in between. Here, then, is our list of Red Rooster’s favourite records of the past 12 months, hand-picked by the whole team here at Euston Hall, including our host and festival founder, Duke Harry.

 

Pokey LaFarge - Manic Revelations

Our biggest announcement yet for Red Rooster 2018, Pokey’s eighth album represents a masterclass in honest, road-worn song writing, its narratives sharply honed into perky, persuasive tunes by a quick wit and flawless levels of musicianship.

 

The Bonnevilles - Dirty Photographs

Another early booking for Red Rooster 2018, The Bonnevilles make raucous, gonzo blues-rock which we find utterly electrifying. Dirty Photographs is as primally exciting a record as we’ve heard for some time round these parts.

 

JD McPherson – Undivided Heart and Soul

Star of Red Rooster 2017 and one of the most naturally talented rock ‘n’ rollers in the U.S. just now, McPherson wrote part of his newest record with members of Queens of the Stone Age, and their smoky, desert-fried heaviness casts a certain shadow on Undivided Heart and Soul. It’s not overdone, and this is still an album by the JD we know and love, but it’s a welcome step forward from an outstandingly gifted songwriter.

 

Aaron Lee Tasjan - Silver Tears

“For me, I don’t feel much in competition with anybody that’s doing the modern country thing,” Tasjan told The Guardian earlier this year, a statement that makes sense to a listener of Silver Tears. There’s an easy confidence here, as well as an inquisitive, eclectic approach that denies straightforward genre-demarcation, both of which work together to make a fabulous record that leaves a lasting impression.

 

Margo Price – All American Made

No matter your political convictions, it’s hard to deny that these are tumultuous times for our friends across the pond. Margo Price has created a record that expresses the trials and tribulations of contemporary America rather wonderfully, her compassionate, insightful songwriting functioning as an articulate comment upon its context without being bound to it.

 

Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ – TajMo

As AllMusic remarked, this album’s “mellowness is charming, and the two bluesmen play off each other like the longtime friends they are, which is an endearing thing to hear.” Sounds about right to us.

 

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

The reigning king of sardonic folk-rock followed up 2015’s I Love You, Honeybear with an expansive, ambitious effort, whose Vonnegut-esque black humour and knack for keen-eyed observation only increase in resonance upon repeated listens.

 

Robert Finley – Goin’ Platinum!

The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach asserts that Robert Finley is “the greatest living soul singer”, and we’re not going to argue with that. Goin’ Platinum! is chock-full of playful, toe-tapping numbers, all of which are darn-near irresistible to these ears, sung in that exceptional voice.

 

The Texas Gentlemen - TX Jelly

This intriguing, curious album manages to combine a heap of seemingly disparate ideas into a coherent whole, with sticky hooks and impressive instrumental chops to boot.

 

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Soul of a Woman

The late, great Sharon Jones is sorely missed by all at Euston Hall, and there are few better examples of her astonishing talent than this posthumous release.

 

 

 

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